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Shamrock Challenge raises money for Special Olympics

| Sunday, April 13, 2014

Over the past four Sunday mornings, Notre Dame students, faculty and staff ran, rowed, biked and swam for the first annual Shamrock Challenge, sponsored by RecSports, to raise money for the St. Joseph County Special Olympics.
Participants competed in a variety of athletic events spread out over the four weeks and across campus recreational facilities, earning points for miles run, sit-ups completed or inches jumped. Those who accumulated the most points throughout the month earned weekly or overall prizes provided by RecSports, Notre Dame Food Services, Legends of Notre Dame and The Vitamin Shoppe in Mishawaka.
Each participant, competing as an individual or in a hall team, sponsored a Special Olympics athlete with his or her registration fee. Amy Marquez, a RecSports intern who organized the event, said Shamrock Challenge continues RecSports’ relationship with the Special Olympics after the Late Night Olympics, a similar fitness competition, ended in 2012 after 22 years due to lack of space.
Marquez said she and RecSports facilities coordinator Ed Beven designed Shamrock Challenge to take place during facilities off-hours and to appeal to as many people as possible.
“We wanted to try to find something to replace the Late Night Olympics, and also we were thinking of how we could get more men involved in our fitness type things,” she said. “We have a lot of group fitness things, but it’s mainly just women who are involved, so we wanted to put something together to get the men out there, and we figured men like to do competition-based things, so this is kind of the idea of it.”
Shamrock Challenge began March 23 with running and rowing competitions in the Rolfs Sports Recreation Center (RSRC). The next Sunday, competitors did push-ups and rode exercise bikes in the Rockne Memorial. April 6 promoted swimming and sit-ups day at the Rolfs Aquatic Center, and this past Sunday featured a variety of activities at the RSRC, including sprints, ropes and burpees.
Marquez said about 50 people registered and 35 participated. She estimated the event raised about $300. She said although space might be an issue, RecSports hopes to expand Shamrock Challenge in future years, including bringing in Special Olympics athletes to compete, as they did in the Late Night Olympics.
“They go all out for these athletes, and our hope is that next year [the Special Olympics athletes] can join them and be on a team with them,” Marquez said. “We wanted to see how it would go the first year and how many numbers it would get. Hopefully next year we can do that.”

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About Emily McConville

Emily McConville is a news writer and photographer for the Observer. She is a senior studying history and Italian with a minor in journalism. She is from Louisville, KY and lives off-campus.

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